A few months ago, a company called Ultrinsic made international news headlines by launching a website that allowed students in universities across the United States put money down on their grades. While internet betting in the US is not allowed, Ultrinsic argued that because a student’s grades are largely in their control, this sort of betting is not really gambling. It therefore appears that Ultrinsic is operating fully within American gambling laws, and so far, nobody has challenged the legality the grades betting service.
Indiana University (IU), however, is going after Ultrinsic for violating the university’s own rules and regulations. A cease and desist order has been issued, requiring Ultrinsic to stop serving IU students.
The problem is related to the confidentiality of student records. When a person creates an account with Ultrinsic, they have to sign a form giving the company permission to access their student records. Because IU does not allow student records to be shared in this manner, there has been some friction.
Allowing Ultrinsic to access academic records “threatens the privacy, security and integrity of student records and University computing systems,” wrote IU in-house attorney Beth Cate in a letter to Ultrinsic. “Any access to Indiana University student accounts or other systems will be deemed an unauthorized access of University records and facilities, and will be addressed accordingly under applicable law.”
Indiana University is not alone. North Carolina State University and Oregon State University have also sent letters to Ultrinsic, complain about their online betting services.
Ultrinsic CEO Steve Wolf remains optimistic. “It would be our pleasure to meet with administrators at Indiana University to explain how Ultrinsic works and can further benefit Indiana University,” Wolf explained. “We believe that if they take the time to understand the value that Ultrinsic brings to the educational process, they will embrace our service.“